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Sports Minister unveils 2020 plan, seeks to deliver 4 football pitches

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, on Thursday announced some of his plans for the Youth and Sports sector in the new year.

Dare, in a statement by his Media Assistant, Mr Kola Daniels, said that his plan was to ensure that sports and the youth of Nigeria are taken to the next level in line with the agenda of the Buhari administration.

“Talks are ongoing with government and a few private individuals concerning the renovation of the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, formerly Liberty Stadium.

“Our goal is to deliver four FIFA standard pitches by the first quarter of 2020 by God’s Grace.

“Our short-term Sports Development Plan for the next two years will gradually unfold.

“It is focused on Infrastructure, Athletes Welfare, Grassroots Sports and Sports as a viable business.

“Abuja Stadium is on its way back, National Stadium Lagos is set for concession, not forgetting the Ahmadu Bello Stadium,’’ Dare said.

The minister disclosed further that the ministry would, in 2020, monitor and ensure the completion of about 20 mini-stadiums across the country.

He said that the Imo-model of one mini-stadium per Local government by each state would be marketed.

“The government will provide and open up more opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship and skills acquisition working with strategic implementation partners.

“In this regard, this government is in a hurry to ratchet up the numbers of engaged youths,’’ Dare said.

He promised to do all within the ministry’s powers to ensure that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan counted for Nigeria and Nigerians.

“Our athletes will be exposed to the best training, competitions and camping possible. The process is already ongoing and will be sustained,” he said.

On plans to boost grassroots sports development, the minister hinted that the Headmasters Cup for primary schools and Principals Cup would be making a comeback, along with a new Talent Hunt Programme (THP).

According to him, this is being finalised.

“Adoption Initiative has been birthed, and the policy to turn sports into business is being pursued among other things,’’ he said.

Dare further assured of the Federal Government’s commitment towards increasing the level of investment in the youth with a slew of new youth engagements unfolding.

He said that the previous youth engagements were being strengthened and consolidated through partnership with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

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